Monday, November 16, 2015

16-Nov-2015 Yangzhou Park, Kent, Washington

Site location (click to enlarge)
A few hours lull in the rain allowed me to make my first foray south of Seattle in search of the introduced crab spider Ozyptila praticola (Thomisidae).  My destination was Kent, a small city about 10 miles south of Seattle's Beer Sheva Park, the southern-most place in Washington where I've documented the presence of O. praticola.  I headed first to Kent's branch of the King County Library because Google Street View had revealed numerous pines in its parking lot.  Disappointingly, all cones had been removed by groundskeepers.  But from there I was able to spot the pine that was to be my sampling site.

Most of the fallen cone microhabitat
was on the railroad side of the fence
A lovely setting for cone tapping
Across the railroad tracks from the library sits Yangzhou Park, which features a lovely little friendship pagoda from Kent's sister city Yangshou, China, and a pine tree that had dropped over 100 cones.  Although the scales on most of the cones were barely open, I decided they were worth tapping since I've found that O. praticola can be found in such tight places, and because most of the cones were resting on pine needle and broadleaf litter, a substrate amenable to my target species.

O. praticola juveniles tapped from cones
in Yangzhou Park in Kent, Washington
I tapped 95 cones and collected 5 juvenile Ozyptila that were colored and patterned like praticola, and 1 harvestman.  This is the first time that I've tapped only one species of spider from a set of cones in western Washington.  I was especially surprised by this result given that I had tapped almost twice the number of cones that I consider a full sample (50).  The poorly-opened scales could perhaps explain the absence of other species, but it hasn't been a barrier before, especially not to juvenile linyphiids.

I returned to the safe side of the fence before each train roared by.

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